Escape from War and Persecution Refugees and help in escaping danger – past and present

Introduction

Background information and didactical perspective

Can we compare the situation of Jewish refugees in the National Socialist period with that of refugees today? This question, subject to heated debate in current discussions around refugees, is at the centre of this module. The objective is not to use the selected sources and pieces of text to find ‘proof’ for or against the thesis proposed in this question. Instead, the intent is for pupils to engage with a range of historical and current causes and examples of refugee movements which demonstrate that people flee their home countries for various, often overlapping reasons and that, today as in the past, they do so in response to the threats and dangers of war, violence, starvation or the lack of a meaningful future for them in their home country. Are those who help refugees to escape heroes or profiteers, good Samaritans or people smugglers? The module will ask pupils to discuss this question using the examples of two people who helped Jews to escape during the National Socialist era, evaluating their actions. Pupils will also attempt to put themselves in the place of someone helping refugees to escape today and explore their motives. What role do statistics and online forums play in shaping people’s views on taking in refugees? In order to examine this question, pupils will analyse tweets responding to the results of a survey conducted in July 1938 on allowing Jewish refugees into the US and republished shortly after the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015.

Learning outcomes

Competencies
Comprehending, categorising and assessing information and sources; critically reading information and making appropriate judgements; interpretative skills; media competencies; changing perspective; factual knowledge and competencies
Topics / National curriculum
Current refugee and migration movements; why refugees flee; the Holocaust; the Second World War; Jewish emigration and escape from Nazi Germany; US immigration policy; the individual and society; values and conflicts between different sets of values; living together and a sense of community; people in need
Escape from War and Persecution
  • Suitable age
    14-18
  • Time frame
    3x45 min.
  • Required materials
    board/flip chart; buttons; dice; blank flashcards; smartphones/computer with internet access for students; mounting material (magnets/tape/push pins); moderation cards; seewing needles; blank note cards; colored A4 printing paper; pens; computer with internet access and attached projector; mobile phone or other recording device; writing utensils (as needed); white board; scraps of wool and fabric; computer workstations or mobile terminals; world map;
  • Description
    This module looks at the experience of fleeing from the National Socialists and those who helped refugees in this period, as well as exploring current refugee movements, particularly those stemming from the civil war in Syria.
  • Subjects / Topics
    Biology Communication Cosmopolitan issues Dialogue Diversity English Ethics/Religion Geography History IT Language Media Education Political Studies Signs Social Studies/Civic Education Social Learning Symbols

Lesson plan

Abbreviations:

  • A = Activity
  • D = Discussion
  • GW = Group work
  • HW = Homework
  • PW = Partnerwork
  • PTS = Previous Teacher’s Study
  • PO = Pupils opinions
  • PP = Pupil’s presentations
  • TP = Teacher’s presentation

Download

Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(15 min.)

Objective
  • In exploring definitions of migration and being a refugee, pupils learn to differentiate the two.
  • Pupils come up with their own ideas on causes of flight and forced migration.
  • Pupils will also learn, via independent work, about refugee movements today and in the past.
Preparation
  • In preparation for teaching the topic, the teacher should read the introduction Escape from war and persecution and may wish to explore links on the topic.
  • The teacher should make sufficient copies of the text {1}Causes of forced migrations and escape as a refugee{/1} for the partner work.
  • In general, migration refers to a permanent move to a new place, usually a new country. Refugees are also migrants, except their move is prompted by circumstances – such as war, persecution or natural disaster – that make them feel they have to leave their previous home. ‘Taking refuge’ as a refugee, then, is migration under duress from external factors.
Execution
  • Without passing comment, the teacher writes the words ‘migration’ and ‘escape’ (or ‘taking refuge’) on the board or equivalent, one on the left, one on the right. The teacher then asks pupils for their associations with each term, writes them up on the board, and leads a discussion on similarities and differences between the two.
  • A
  • D
M1
Text for informative purposes
Additional material
  • board/flip chart

Main section
(25 min.)

  • Step 1 The teacher should now read the text on worksheet Causes of forced migrations and escape as a refugee together with the pupils.
  • Step 2 The teacher now responds to any questions the pupils have relating to comprehension of the text.
  • Step 3 A phase of partner work follows, in which pupils use the text to draw up a definition of ‘taking refuge’ and ‘forced migration’ and identify causal factors.
  • A
  • PW
M2
Worksheet “Causes of (forced) migration and escape as a refugee: A short introduction”

Presentation and knowledge checking
(10 min.)

  • The teacher shows the pupils the definition of a refugee and of a refugee movement as laid down by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR Defition of a refugee .
  • Pupils share their definitions with the whole group and compare them with the UNHCR’s definition.
  • TP
  • PP
M3
UNHCR definition of a refugee
Additional material
  • board/flip chart
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(15 min.)

Objective
  • In this lesson, pupils will explore help for refugees in the National Socialist period and the present day.
  • They will learn about the lives and actions of two people who helped refugees escape the Nazis.
  • In the ensuing discussion, they will evaluate the actions of those who help refugees escape.
Preparation
  • The teacher should make sure there is a working internet connection and that a device to play the videos is ready.
  • The teacher will need a projector to show videos and brief pieces of text.
  • Before taking the session, the teacher should have read the information on the video Help a Refugee Escape and may wish to visit the campaign website.
  • The teacher should provide sufficient copies for all pupils of transcript of the video Help a Refugee Escape.
Execution
  • Step 1 The teacher and pupils should watch the video Help a Refugee Escape.
  • Step 2 After showing the video, the teacher projects the quotes at the end Quotations from video.
  • Step 3 The teacher should keep the transcript Help a Refugee Escape to hand in order to answer any questions the pupils have or to read out specific passages.
  • Step 4 After the video, the teacher should provide background information on the campaign and ask the pupils for their thoughts on the film and the quotes from the film in comparison with the headline in the German newspaper.
  • A
  • TP
  • PO
M4
Video “Help a Refugee Escape”
M5
Transcript of video “Help a Refugee Escape”
M6
Quotations from video “Help a Refugee Escape” and newspaper headline
Additional material
  • board/flip chart

Discussion
(25 min.)

  • Step 1 Now the pupils read the text Luise Meier and Josef Höfler: help for refugees from Nazi Germany and identify the historian's view on the actions of Luise Meier and Josef Höfler.
  • Step 2 The discussion should evaluate the actions of the couple in the video and of Luise Meier and Josef Höfler in the text, exploring differences in this evaluation relating to the specific situation of the National Socialist period as opposed to the current situation.
  • Step 3 During this, the teacher notes arguments for each point of view on the board or equivalent.
  • A
  • PO
M7
Worksheet “Luise Meier and Josef Höfler: help for refugees from Nazi Germany”

Conclusion
(10 min.)

  • In a concluding dialogue with the pupils, the teacher encourages critical discussion and adds to the arguments noted down on the board.
  • After the video, the teacher should provide background information on the campaign and ask the pupils for their thoughts on the film and the quotes from the film in comparison with the headline in the German newspaper.
    • Can you think of any other people or organisations who help refugees directly or indirectly? (Examples might include the emergency services/coastguard or Seawatch)
    • What are the arguments for and against helping refugees leave their country and reach their aimed-for destination?
    • What are the (legal) problems associated with this kind of help for refugees? How can states tackle these issues?
    • What might be people’s motives for helping refugees to escape?
    • What are the circumstances under which helping refugees to escape is the (morally) right thing to do?
Learning expectations
  • The final discussion should aim to assist pupils in forming their own points of view via engagement with the topic and subject-oriented changes of perspective (stepping into someone else’s shoes).
  • D
Additional material
  • board/flip chart
Phase Content Type of activity Media, Material

Introduction
(15 min.)

Objective
  • Pupils will explore the impact of current migration to Europe on the various EU member states.
  • They will compare the issues arising due to migration and the responses of member states‘ governments.
  • Pupils will then engage critically with arguments for and against admitting refugees to a country.
Preparation
  • The teacher prepares the role cards Migration in the EU. Some roles may be left out in accordance with class size. The teacher may choose to decide in advance which countries he or she wishes to definitely include and which can be left aside.
  • The teacher prepares to discuss the Global Compact for Migration by reading Background information on the Global Compact for Migration.
  • Each group will need internet access for the group work phase.
  • The teacher will need to provide sufficient copies of worksheet Migration in the EU.
Execution
  • Step 1 The teacher reminds the class of the discussion conducted in the last session.
  • Step 2 Together, the pupils list the aspects of migration and escape as a refugee which came up in that discussion.
  • Step 3 Discussion starters:
    • How did we ‘see’ migrants in our discussions last session?
    • How did people who help refugees to escape come up?
    • What issues and problems that occur in the context of migration did we not talk about last time? Are there any we only touched upon briefly?
  • Step 4 Why do we talk about a European migration or refugee ‘crisis’?
  • A

Main section
(15 min.)

  • Step 1 The teacher divides the pupils into several small groups of 2-3 pupils each and gives out the worksheet Migration in the EU.
  • Step 2 The groups each draw an EU member state.
  • Step 3 The teacher tells the pupils that, while they are allowed to use Wikipedia to give themselves an overview, they will need, when they present their work, to refer to at least one reliable/quotable source and explain briefly why they consider that source credible.
  • GW
M8
Worksheet “Migration in the EU”
M9
Role cards “Migration in the EU”

Discussion
(15 min.)

  • Step 1 The groups present their EU member state and their source(s) in turn.
  • Step 2 The teacher facilitates the ensuing discussion, with each group taking the position of the EU member state they have been working on.
  • Step 3 After the video, the teacher should provide background information on the campaign and ask the pupils for their thoughts on the film and the quotes from the film in comparison with the headline in the German newspaper.
    • What is your attitude to migration to Europe?
    • What are your reasons for this attitude?
    • What problems have you had with migration to Europe?
  • Step 4 What do you hope for or demand from the other EU member states?
  • PP
  • D

Conclusion
(5 min.)

The teacher gives the pupils an outline of the UN Global Compact for Migration as an attempt an international solution to the migration crisis.

  • TP
M10
Background information on the UN Global Compact for Migration